cover image What the Night Tells the Day

What the Night Tells the Day

Hector Bianciotti. New Press, $22 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-240-3

Looking back across large separations in time, language, culture and identity, Bianciotti, literary correspondent for Le Monde, mines the experiences of his youth in Peron-era Argentina for insights into personal evolution and the workings of fate. On occasion sublimely revealing, at times tiresomely solipsistic, these thoughtful, ruminative memoirs trace a quarter-century beginning with the author's infancy and ending with his emigration to Europe in 1955. Writing from contemporary Paris, Bianciotti examines the forces that slowly transformed him from a young cowherd living among Italian immigrants on the Argentinean pampas to a gay European man of letters. From his distressed relations with his father to his studies for the priesthood to his bohemian struggle in Buenos Aires and his unwitting collaboration with the secret police, Bianciotti dwells less on the intriguing characters and events of his story than on the small life-lessons he often unexpectedly gleans from them. While many of these are inspired, the predominance of abstraction makes for a top-heavy narrative that leaves the reader dissatisfied with its exploration of a clearly interesting life. (Apr.)